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Posted on in Divorce

chronology of divorce casesAs you are undoubtedly aware, divorce cases can drag on for months and even years, preventing the parties from moving on with their lives. But why does it take so long? The lifespan of a divorce begins even before either party files for dissolution of marriage under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, and lasts until a full agreement has been reached. Many cases involve complex circumstances that take longer to sort out. Below you will find more information on the main phases of a divorce.

Filing of a Petition for Dissolution

Your case officially begins when your lawyer files a petition in court. Once the petition is filed, you can wait before telling your spouse, if it is to your advantage, but you cannot wait forever. An attorney can help you decide when the time is right to ask the sheriff to serve your spouse with divorce papers.

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joint custody agreementsWhether individual parents originally wanted to share custody with their ex or not, they often find themselves in formal, court-ordered joint custody arrangements. Each parent needs to figure out how to make the best of the situation for themselves and, more importantly, for their children.

Key Points

Figure out the channel of communication that will work best for you and your ex. Phone calls, texts, emails, or even face-to-face meetings (without kids present) are the likely options, but if those do not work, there are other methods to help you, such as computer programs that can help provide a channel of effective communication between you and your ex-spouse. There is simply no way to avoid communication, so consider which of the many options will be the easiest and least stressful way for you and your ex to talk effectively about your child’s life. Effectively communicating with your ex when emergencies arise that will impact your child’s regular schedule will ensure there is no added stress on your child when the change occurs.

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unmarried parents child custodyWhether parents are married or not, many of the same issues and emotions are present within the context of a child custody case. Both parents may be petitioning the court for custody rights, visitation time, and/or child support in regards to any children they have in common. However, there are some important considerations for unmarried parents to take note of in the context of a child custody case, not all of which would be relevant to married parents.

Parental Rights

Generally, both unmarried mothers and unmarried fathers have a right to custody of their minor child provided that they are not considered to be unfit parents or otherwise unable to care for the child. While maternity is easily established, an unmarried father may have an initial issue with petitioning a court for custody if he is not listed on the child’s birth certificate or if the mother does not acknowledge paternity. This situation would likely lead the father to seek to establish paternity in a parentage action before the court in order to legally be declared the father of the minor child. Once it is properly proven that each parent has a right to the child and is not unfit to be a parent, the parties can ask the court to make relevant determinations regarding the child, such as physical custody, legal custody, visitation, and child support. While the issue of parentage is certainly not the only consideration for unmarried couples to be aware of in a child custody case, it is arguably the most common.

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property division illinois divorceDuring a divorce proceeding, the parties may attempt to come to an agreement about the way in which they will divide their marital property between them. However, if they are unable to come to an agreement, or if their agreement is found to be unfair and unconscionable, it is up to the Illinois Courts to divide the marital estate between the divorcing parties in a way it sees fit. The court employs the law as a guideline in making a property determination within a divorce decree.

Equitable Distribution

Illinois state law follows the concept of equitable distribution in dividing marital property. This allows the court to make a property determination based on fairness and may not involve a perfect 50/50 split of marital property awarded to each party. The court will separate what is classified as marital property from what is considered separate property, and will equitably divide the marital property between divorcing spouses.

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same-sex marriage, Illinois marriage law, Illinois law, family lawyer, Chicago family lawyerAn article recently published by The Windy City Times discussed same-sex couples being legally allowed to marry across the state of Illinois. Beginning on June 1st, the state’s Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act took effect across the state, giving same-sex couples the right to marry and enjoy all of the same rights and privileges as married heterosexual couples. A number of counties had allowed same-sex couples to procure marriage licenses for the past several months in advance of the law taking effect, in light of a federal ruling in February that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Other counties decided to wait until the law went into effect this month to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Couples Seeking Marriage Licenses

Despite the Federal Court’s ruling in February, county clerk’s offices in Illinois who did accept early applications were not overrun with same-sex marriage license requests. Many of them surmised that this was perhaps because couples wanted to wait to plan their ceremonies and weddings for the summer months, since the licenses are only valid for 60 days. Another reason couples may have put off getting their marriage license right away is because a portion of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act allows couples who have already entered into a civil union to backdate their licenses to the date of their union, without the need for a new ceremony or a new fee. This rule did not apply until June 1st.

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domestic violence, domestic abuse, Illinois domestic violence lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyDomestic violence includes acts of violence that occur between current and former romantic partners. Many different types of acts may be considered domestic violence, as a wide range of actions may cause physical or psychological harm to the victim. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States, with the statistic that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds. While its direct effects on the victim are often far too obvious, it affects all family members, especially where children are involved.

The Extent of the Problem

Many incidents of domestic violence are never reported, which makes particularly accurate information hard to come by. Still, many aspects of the problem are known. Domestic violence is something that can affect anyone, from any social, economic, ethnic, cultural, or age group. It does not discriminate based on type or nature of the relationship.

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Posted on in Divorce

sick, flu, contagious, divorce, is divorce contagious, family law, DuPage County family lawyerThe decision to end a marriage is usually not an easy one to make. Often, couples must face a number of difficult decisions when deciding to divorce, especially when children are involved. Outsiders may wonder what happened within a marriage to cause divorce. While any number of factors can and usually do play a part in a couple’s decision to call it quits, a new study is suggesting a surprising factor that may play a larger role in an impending divorce than one may realize. According to a news article recently published by CBS 2, the divorce of a friend or loved one may increase a couple’s chances of getting divorced as well.

Divorce is Contagious... Just like the flu, a new study from Brown University is suggesting that divorce may also be contagious, and could put anyone’s marriage in danger. According to the study, which was comprised of data from thousands of people over three decades, the divorce of a friend or loved one may increase that person’s odds of also getting divorced. The findings included that one was 75 percent more likely to get divorced if one of their friends were divorced. Further, an individual was 33 percent more likely to divorce if a friend of a friend obtained a divorce. The trend seemed to end when considering the divorce of a couple three degrees removed. Researchers involved in the study called the findings a social contagion, which indicated the spread of information, attitudes, and behaviors through friends, family, and other social circles. …Or is It? Some are saying that it is not divorce itself that is contagious in such situations, but rather it is the emotions that are tied to the divorce that can be contagious. In other words, those who are constantly around other people who are in unhappy relationships may tend to look at their own relationship more critically. Others were not so sure of the theory, saying the tendency to let other’s emotions have such a significant impact on one’s own shows a lack of maturity and that a friend or acquaintance’s unhappiness should not influence another individual’s marriage. There are ways to avoid letting the divorce bug infect another couple. It is advisable not to compare the situation and circumstances of a friend to one’s own, since usually, the connections are not found in reality but are rather imagined or created. Often, such comparisons and associations are simply not realistic. Divorce Attorney If you find yourself in a situation in which divorce seems like a likely option, it is best to discuss your case with an experienced divorce attorney. The attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC can advise you after listening to the facts of your particular case. Please contact us today for a consultation. We have successful experience representing clients in Cook and DuPage Counties, as well as surrounding areas.

DuPage County divorce attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer, divorce lawyer, attorneyIf you are considering divorce, you may have several concerns regarding the process, including the prospect of hiring a divorce attorney. Some may be tempted to attempt the process without representation. However, doing so may prove to have several drawbacks and will likely affect the outcome of your case.

Drawbacks and Dangers

Divorce usually involves a large amount of legal documents and complicated paperwork that needs to be read and sorted through. The task can not only be an unpleasant one, but also one that not everyone is qualified to handle. At the outset, a divorce case may seem straightforward, but things can very easily take a wrong turn and become much more involved, leaving the unrepresented in way over their heads. Those parties who choose not to hire an attorney can also cause the whole process of divorce to move much slower than it otherwise would, frustrating the judge and other parties involved.

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estate planning, estate plan, lawyer, attorney, family lawyer, family law attorneyWhether you are a parent or an adult child interested in beginning a conversation about getting affairs in order, the prospect of discussing your loved one’s death can be intimidating. However, once the participants get over the initial discomfort, having an open discussion about estate planning matters can prove highly beneficial. Here are some tips to open the lines of communication.

Having a Conversation

It is important to have honest yet sensitive communication among close family regarding estate planning. Doing so will help make sure that expectations and feelings about certain responsibilities or obligations designated by the documents are shared with one another.

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Illinois divorce attorney, family law attorney, divorce, Illinois, DuPage County, Divorce is challenging; there is no doubt about it. What can make it even more difficult is when you or your divorcing spouse relies on false or incomplete information. Below are some common questions and answers relating to divorce proceedings in Illinois.

 Do We Have to Go to Court to Get Divorced? It is certainly true that some divorce cases end up before a judge, but that doesn’t have to be the case. A majority of divorcing spouses never see the inside of a courtroom. Divorcing couples can save the expense of a costly court battle by negotiating the terms of the divorce themselves, including such matters as division of marital property and spousal support. Where couples disagree--even contentiously--other skilled professionals may help resolve the issues. For example, many couples rely on a trained mediator to facilitate discussion and reach a resolution. In all instances, it is wise to have an attorney who can inform you of your rights and guide you through the process.  If I Move Out, Will I Lose My Rights to Our House? You will not lose your ownership rights in the family home if you are the party to first move out when you separate. What will happen to the house and how ownership will be divided will be determined during the divorce proceeding. The decision to separate, however, may have other legal consequences and it is vital that you talk to a skilled attorney when making such a decision.  What If Our Assets Are All In My Spouse's Name? According to Illinois law, both property and debt acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage is presumed to belong to both spouses, regardless of what the title says. How your property and debt will be classified in a divorce can become complicated. Speaking with a skilled attorney can help you understand how your property will be characterized and divided by the court in a divorce proceeding.  If A Marriage Agreement Isn’t Working, Can We Modify or Cancel it? If you sign an agreement dealing with any aspect of your divorce, you may not have the ability to cancel it or renegotiate the terms. Even if you signed the agreement without the advice of a lawyer, such an agreement can be binding.  If My Spouse Has A Lawyer, Do I Need One, Too? According to rules of ethics in Illinois, an attorney cannot represent both people in a divorce proceeding. Such a situation would represent a conflict of interest. Each party in a divorce should have their own lawyer to give proper advice and advocate for their needs. In all aspects relating to a divorce, your choices and actions can have lasting effects. A poor decision can permanently damage your financial, legal, and emotional well-being. It is essential that you speak with a skilled attorney to guide you through the process of divorce in Illinois.  Illinois Divorce Attorneys For more information about how the process may work in your situation, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC today. We work with families in many different situation throughout Wheaton, Warrenville, and many other Illinois communities.

spousal support, alimony, spousal maintenance, divorceSpousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony, refers to the transfer of money or assets from one spouse to another after a divorce. Spousal support exists in order to prevent a divorced spouse from suffering from a decrease in his or her standard of living due to a divorce.

It is not uncommon in marriages for one spouse to be employed and the other to be untrained or out of the workforce. After a divorce, it is very difficult for those who were not employed outside of the home during the marriage to obtain jobs that allow them to keep up with the standard of living they were used to while married.

 Depending on the circumstances, a couple may choose one of three different types of spousal maintenance. The first type of spousal support is called rehabilitative maintenance. This type of support generally has a set time frame and ends when the receiving spouse is back up on his or her feet. During the set time period, the receiving spouse has a chance to adjust, return to to the job market, and establish their own financial independence. Next, we have permanent maintenance. This type of agreement, hence the name, is permanent and will only end in the event of the death of one of the previous spouses or after a certain condition arises, such as remarriage. Permanent maintenance is sometimes awarded after an exceptionally lengthy marriage or if something is stopping the receiving spouse from entering the workforce, such as a physical disability. Although maintenance is permanent, payments are not set at one sum forever and may be negotiated upward or downward over the years based on changing circumstances. The third and final form of spousal maintenance is called temporary maintenance. Traditionally, this type of support is awarded to a spouse while the divorce is pending, as a divorce can sometimes take up to a year or more to be finalized.  Maintenance will end when the divorce becomes final. Spousal maintenance is not for all divorcing couples, but it is helpful to be familiar with the different options that exist. If you and your soon-to-be-ex are considering setting up a spousal support agreement, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney to assist you.

Posted on in Divorce

Ask almost anyone who they think of when they hear the word “adultery,” and you will most likely be unanimously greeted with images of a male of any age, breaking the marital bonds he shares with his wife. And while not completely justified, it is true that throughout history men have owned the lion’s share of adultery in committed marriages.

  But now things seem to be changing – according to a study performed earlier this year, women have closed the gap on infidelity, with rates of adultery rising over 40% in just two decades. And while this may not be something to celebrate, it shows a rise in interesting trends that seem to support the equality among individuals of both genders.

 Women Have More Opportunities

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Posted on in Divorce

Divorce Linked to Long Commutes IMAGEHaving a long drive to and from work could be one reason your marriage is on the rocks. According to new research, conducted by Swedish Umea University affiliate Erica Sandow and reported by the Huffington Post, “people who commute at least 45 minutes one-way to work are more likely to divorce than people who have shorter daily commutes.” The study tracked millions of people in Sweden for 10 years, beginning in 1995. “Sandow focused on people who were married or living with a partner for her research [and] found that around 11 percent of the couples she studied had split by 2000, and more commuter couples separated than those who worked close to home,” according to the Huffington Post. The statistics are pretty bleak—14 percent of couples in which either person had a 45-minute or longer commute broke up, compared to only 10 percent of those in which neither person had a long commute. It seems that the research is skewed over time, however. Sandow found that if the person who had the long drive to work had been doing so for more than five years (if their relationship made it past that crucial marker), then they were only one percent more likely to divorce than couples in which neither person had a long commute. This is bad news for Americans, and could be one contributing factor as to why the divorce rate is so high in the U.S. According to Forbes, a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau report found that “10.8 million people, or 8.1 percent of workers, commute an hour or more to work each way. What’s more, 600,000 are classified as ‘mega-commuters,’ traveling 90 minutes or more and at least 50 miles to get into the office.” This is twice as long as the threshold Sandow was studying that linked long commutes to marital dysfunction. If you or someone you know is having trouble in marriage, whether you believe a long commute is a factor or not, it could be time to sit down with a qualified professional to discuss your options. Contact an experienced Chicago-area family law attorney today.  

The emotional toll of a divorce is not lost on anyone, and it’s no secret that anyone who’s gone through or is going through a divorce is likely to experience some financial setbacks. The trick to maintaining your finances throughout a divorce is to do some serious planning beforehand, sometimes even before you bring up the idea of divorce with your spouse. The first obvious cost to a divorce is the hiring of a qualified divorce attorney—which each spouse will need to do. “Nonetheless,” according to US News and World Report, “people can save a lot on legal fees if the case requires less ‘discovery’ work—meaning clients gather the necessary financial documents on their own time, rather than leaving it to their attorney.” This, of course, means knowing which documents are necessary to search for, and where to look if you’re unsure.   One major way to save on the financial burden of divorce is to attempt to find a middle grounds with your ex and “consider aiming for an uncontested divorce,” according to US News and World Report. This means providing mandatory disclosures, which “require both parties to produce a large number of financial documents.” A divorce attorney can help you to determine which of these documents you’ll need, and may be able to help you obtain them if necessary. The financial documents you’ll need for a divorce are not few in number, and the search for them can “prove overwhelming… especially if you are a stranger to your financial situation,” according to US News and World Report. This can sometimes affect women more often than men, which means that a woman going through a divorce will need to be even more financially aware, especially if she was not the primary earner. To begin the arduous process of organizing your financials during a divorce, the most important first task is to hire a qualified family law attorney. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated DuPage County divorce lawyer today.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted on in Divorce

Divorce is never easy. If you and your soon-to-be ex have children, divorce is even more complicated. Not only are you dealing with your and your spouse’s emotions, there’s the well being of the kids to take into consideration. If the divorce is amicable—which, let’s face it, it rarely is—deciding to share custody of your children is the obvious answer. Yet even if the divorce is less than friendly, research shows that deciding on joint custody is the best option for children. According to a report published in the American Psychological Association (APA), “children from divorced families who either live with both parents at different times or spend certain amounts of time with each parent are better adjusted in most cases than children who live and interact with just one parent.” This, of course, takes into consideration visitation rights as well as custody, but it should be noted that the more time a child spends with both parents, the better off he or she will be.  “Children in joint custody arrangements had less behavior and emotional problems, had higher self-esteem, better family relations and school performance than children in sole custody arrangements,” according to the APA. The perception that a joint custody arrangement could be damaging to children because it has the potential to expose children to ongoing parental conflict is just not true, according to the report. According to Parents magazine, there’s some important framework to consider if you’re embarking on a joint custody arrangement. This includes setting up a routine for your child or children, that “accommodates both parents’ schedules and serves the best interest of the child.” This includes holiday arrangements. Another tip from Parents magazine is to “leave young children out of negotiations, and present your decision matter-of-factly.” In order to be fair to both parents, try to make weekday and weekend time for both parents, so that one parent doesn’t end up being the “fun” one, while the other is responsible for more of the day-to-day. Determining child custody is only one complicated matter of family law and divorce. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney today.   Image courtesy of Mindy McGregor / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted on in Child Support

Illinois has an extensive network of agencies and departments to aid families seeking child support for children living both in and out of Illinois. To qualify for child support services, a person does NOT have to apply for or receive public assistance—taking advantage of the child support services offered by the state does not fall under the auspices of entitlement programs in any way.  According to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services, the department is set up to help any family “collect the basic support your family deserves at no cost to you.” This includes (but is not limited to): establishing paternity, locating the non-custodial parent, obtaining or modifying a child support order, deducting support form unemployment insurance benefits, securing medical insurance for the children, and helping to collect past due child support. The department can set up court dates if need be, but hiring a family law attorney is up to the family. According to the Department, the best way to collect past due child support is income withholding. “The division receives daily information about employment from state and federal partners to track newly hired employees within the state.” Other ways that the division can collect support include (but are not limited to): intercepting federal and state income tax refunds and lottery winnings, placing liens on real property, freezing bank accounts, and contacting the Secretary of State to attempt to suspend an Illinois driver’s license. With all these services available to anyone, regardless of income, there’s no reason that any family seeking child support in Illinois shouldn’t be able to get what they deserve. Determining child custody, however, is something that has to be settled in court and is best done with an experienced family law attorney. If you or someone you know requires child support assistance, contact a dedicated Illinois family lawyer today. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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